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Six inmates at Kilby prison die from illnesses in less than two weeks


In just under two weeks, six inmates at the overcrowded Kilby Correctional facility recently died from illnesses, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed for APR on Friday. 

Just one of the men was tested for COVID-19, and the test came back negative before his death, ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Rose said in a message Friday. 

“Please note that, at the times of their passing, these inmates were not exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, were not under level-two quarantine following direct exposure to an inmate or staff member who previously had tested positive for the virus, and were not in medical isolation as a result of a positive COVID-19 test,” Rose said in the message. “As these individuals had not displayed signs or symptoms, they had not been tested for COVID-19.” 

  • Norman Bonds, 54, died from an apparent stroke on May 24 while under the care of a local hospital. Rose said Bonds was tested for COVID-19 at the hospital “per protocol” and returned a negative test result.
  • Robert Hughes, 83, died May 22 from apparent complications due to advanced colon cancer. 
  • James White, 66, died May 24 from apparent complications due to terminal cancer. 
  • Gene Perry, 77, died May 25 while under hospice care from apparent complications related to several advanced medical conditions. 
  • Reginald Ransom, 51, died from apparent complications due to advanced bone cancer, a spinal tumor, and other serious medical issues on May 29. 
  • Demetrius Burks, 44, died from apparent complications related to several pre-existing medical conditions on June 3, according to the department. 

The exact causes of death for all six inmates are pending autopsies, Rose said.

There have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates at Kilby prison, and 14 cases among staff at the facility as of Wednesday, according to ADOC. 

In total, 119 prison workers and 28 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Two inmates have died after testing positive for the virus. Just 229 of Alabama’s approximately 22,000 inmates have been tested for the virus. 

Families and advocates for many weeks have asked state officials to release sick and older inmates, who are at greatest risk of death from coronavirus. The state’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded and unsanitary, those advocates have said.

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It’s unclear if the men who died would have been likely candidates for early release, however. Several were serving for violent crimes and three were sentenced to life.

Kilby prison was at 275 percent capacity in March, the latest monthly statistical report released by the department. The state’s prisons overall were at 168 percent capacity at that time.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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